Our city trip in Porto - Much more than a charming city
Citytrip in Porto
This week we spent a week on a city trip in Porto, Portugal. A long : you might think, but did you know that there is much more to see in the Porto area than just Porto itself? On the ground, we did much more than just visit Porto. We had a fantastic time! Read here why you should visit Porto too.
Roadtrip around Porto
For the first few days of our stay, we rented a car through Sunny Cars. This allows you to easily discover the Porto area yourself and thanks to the all-in service of Sunny Cars you are fully insured, which always makes a road trip just that little bit safer. For us, it is also important that everything goes as smoothly as possible, as we want to be able to enjoy our road trip as soon as possible. Thanks to renting your car in advance, this is definitely an efficient way. You don’t lose time at the airport or at the rental company itself searching for a suitable car.
The Venice of Portugal
Our first stop was Aveiro about an hour’s drive from Porto. This city is also called the “Venice of Portugal”. It might be a bit of an exaggeration, but even here you will find similar canals and gondolas that you can ride on the water. But that is definitely not the most special thing about Aveiro. We especially liked the nearest beach of Costa Nova, a fifteen minute drive from Aveiro. The typical colorful houses immediately bring you in a summer atmosphereand the food there was also delicious! Should you go to Costa Nova, be sure to try eating fish at the Bronze restaurant on the beach. Highly recommended!
Explore the wine region
Porto, of course, is best known as a wine region. So we were eager to know where this delicious wine and port came from. With our rental car we headed to the Douro Valley where the vineyards of these drinks can be found. Remember that this region is huge, you’ll spend hours on the road, and there may not be much to see in some places. We, too, have been mistaken in this. We saw some beautiful places, such as the Douro River flowing through the landscape as well as the huge vineyards of Sandeman, but we certainly haven’t seen a fraction of what gems are out there. Booking a tour to this area is also a good option. Although we didn’t see the point of sitting on a bus for hours through the winding streets of the valley.
As a final excursion with our rental car, we chose the nearby city of Braga. This city is a 40-minute drive from Porto and is known for its numerous churches and places of pilgrimage. We had seen pictures on the Internet of two impressively beautiful pilgrimage sites to be found near Braga. After walking around Braga itself for an hour, we headed into the woods in search of these pilgrimage sites. Braga itself we found really nothing. Then again, the pilgrimage sites in the forests on the mountains, were exceptional. The first and best known of the two is Bom Jesus Do Monte(Good Jesus of the Mountain). This pilgrimage site has a huge ornate staircase leading to the giant church that sits at the top of the mountain. The view of Braga from here is phenomenal!
The second pilgrimage site we visited was Sameiro. This church with surrounding park is a 2-minute drive from Bom Jesus Do Monte. So it is perfect to combine together. This place is even more beautiful and fairy-tale like than the previous one. We were here on a foggy day which made the place look even better. The silence, the atmosphere and the numerous beautiful surprising corners make this place a true film set. We still can’t believe that both monuments are completely free to visit and that there were hardly any tourists to be found. Perhaps this is because of its location, because without a doubt you need a private car for this.
City on the Douro
After our three-day road trip, it was finally time to discover Porto for ourselves. Porto is located on the Douro River, which runs from Porto to the Douro Valley, some two hours away. A city trip to Porto had been on our bucket list for some time because it seemed like such an atmospheric place, and that image was absolutely right! There was even more to see in Porto than we initially thought.
Did you know that Porto has countless churches and parks? And not of the least, but all of them gems. In the evening, by the way, you have a beautiful view of the city if you enjoy a glass of Porto on one of the many waterfront terraces. Could it be any more romantic? Perhaps on the Ponte Dom Luis,Porto’s most famous bridge. Going there to watch the sunset is simply magical. Sigrid even overcame her fear of heights for a while for it. Highly recommended!
We filled about two days exploring all the sights of Porto. There are a lot of them, but most of them don’t take that much time. Like, for example, a visit to Palacio Da Bolsa. This palace is a must see if you like opulence and architecture. A short tour takes you past the most beautiful spots of the palace with the icing on the cake being the golden ballroom. Please note that this tour only lasts about half an hour. Not something you fill a full day with. We visited just about every church in Porto afterwards and some unique (souvenir) stores. And, of course, the wine cellars of Sandeman.
Sun, sea and beach
The days when the weather was really good, you could find us at the beach. To swim, it was unfortunately not yet warm enough. Well to take a nice beach walk along the water and stare at the huge waves breaking loose on the rocks. The beach at Matosinhos is ideal for this purpose. It is quiet and the waves are impressively high. Also an ideal place for surfers. Here you can also find Sea Life, but we found that very disappointing. The place is small and not really special. With kids, though, it can be a fun outing on a rainy day.
More than a city break in Porto
As you may have already realized, a visit to Porto is more than a city trip. You can of course stay in the center, but if you like to explore you can have a great time here for a week. No need for longer either, because you’ll have seen it all by then. So a week’s vacation can be perfect to Porto. We recommend it to everyone because it is a very fine and charming city with something for everyone. And oh yes, if you go, grease your legs well already because it is a hilly city and for the best views you will have to climb some. But that’s the only challenge Porto presents if you ask us. It is a great city if you like good food and drink and can enjoy cozy alleys and breathtaking views.
Are you going on a city trip to Porto?
Are you also planning a city trip in Porto? We give you 5 trips you should definitely do when you are there. This way you can see even more of this beautiful country!
Have you ever been on a city trip to Porto? Did you find this city as charming as we did? Be sure to let us know in the comments or on our Facebook page.